Chris Tingom

Spring Cleaning in the Elevators

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This is an old one from November 2005:

Five years ago when I had a real job I woke up early one morning and came into the office. I had prepared a couple of fun April Fools pranks which I had for some reason decided to pull in the middle of winter. Those who know me probably have figured out that this is not abnormal. Hey, I’ll do an April Fools prank every day of the year if I knew I could get a laugh out of it.

So I show up to work at 6 am and bring my materials to pull my pranks. I say pranks because I actually had two that day. I’m there early because I don’t want anyone to know who did it. In fact, nobody ever did find out.

I have printed signs I am going to place outside each elevator door on all levels including the parking garage.

The signs say “We have just completed our Winter cleaning. Please remove your shoes before entering.” They were signed The Management.

It was perfect. You should have heard the complaints. I hid in my cubicle listening to the receptionist and HR manager. Since they got in early I could hear them in the kitchen.

“Gosh, I just can’t believe the building management. They’re getting worse and worse.”

Other people complained and refused while others calmly complied with the written request.

That is, until all of the signs came down around noon. The building management took them all down — however the damage was already done and I had conned many people into removing their shoes.

Fun times. I need to pick a building and try that again.

I have a Spanish Latte for…

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This is a story I wrote back in October 2005:

Down the street at La Grande Orange grocery store they have these wonderfal Spanish Latte’s that I love to get however I have one slight dilemma when I order my drink…

“What’s your name?”


“Last initial?”


Several minutes go by as I wait for my drink to be prepared and then I hear it.

“Spanish Latte for Chris T.”

Except instead of sounding like it should, the words blend together. So it sounds like a drink for Christy. As far as I know I’m the only name that has this type of problem. Drives me nuts.

So what did I do to resolve this problem? I started using different last initials. Like I’d say “M” or “W” or “P” and that would solve the problem.


I walk in last week and I order a Spanish Latte and apparently I’ve ordered from this woman before and she’s learned my name.

Yeah, you guessed it.

She says “It’s Chris, right? Chris M., or W??”

Not much you can say than “Um, yeah, M” and that’s the end of the story.

I suppose it’s not half as bad as the day I ordered coffee with shaving cream all over my face. Yeah, I’ll have to tell that story again sometime.


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This is an old one from September 2004:

So this morning I wake up and do my normal routine before heading in to the office. On the way to work I say to myself “you know, a nice cafe vanilla would be a great way to start the day.” So I stop at a Coffee Bean (one of my favorite places) to get my coffee.

So I go in and I order my drink and all the while the barista is looking at me like I just walked out of a snowstorm. I didn’t think anything of it at the time thinking she was just odd. So then minutes later I see my reflection in a mirror and low and behold I have dried shaving cream all over my chin. Ugh.

I’m just glad I noticed it before walking into a meeting with a client. Can you imagine the horror? I suppose, if anything, it would be a nice icebreaker.

The gas station clerk

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My super sluth senses tell me the hot dogs have been rotating for hours. I don’t care, I could eat a boot I’m so hungry. I’m a detective on the hunt. I’ve come looking for trouble and trouble’s found me.

It’s about 4 o’clock and I’ve just stopped for gas. As soon as I enter the convenience store the hot dogs catch my eye. Begging me from across the room to dare try one. The store clerk knows it. I know it. I have to have one.

These aren’t any ordinary hot dogs though — they’re chili dogs. I’m in a penny pinching mood aand pass on the chili part saving all of a dollar.

After adding ketchup, I walk over to pay. The clerk looks at my hot dog for a long while without saying anything. I’m about to say something when he looks at me again, and then at the hot dog just to be sure. Yup, it’s a hot dog without the chili.

“Dude, you can have the hot dog. I feel sorry for you.”

And that is how you get a free hot dog.

Wave to the cameras

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The other day I had a few spare minutes and so I stopped at the Borders Bookstore on Camelback. I ended up surveying the newly revamped coffee shop on the second floor overlooking the main lobby. The new coffee shop is a Seattle’s Best and I ordered an iced coffee. Good stuff. I don’t care what people say about iced coffee; I really like it.

Afterwards on my way back to my car I stumbled right through a crime scene. Before I knew it I was walking past a good dozen cops all eyeing this one person and cleaning up a mess of blood he had left on the sidewalk. I literally had to watch my step that I didn’t walk in the area they hadn’t yet cleaned up.

Right as I passed I observed one police officer taking photos of the criminal. He had blood covering the entire right side of his face. I can only presume he had somehow been slammed to the ground at some point — where the blood was on the sidewalk.

What didn’t make sense was who had injured him. The cops were interviewing a lady and from the look on her face — stunned — I think she must have been a victim in some way or another.

And then I realized that there were 5 or 6 television cameras pointed at the criminal. My thought was: oh great, now I’ll be on the evening news. The tourist that walked through a crime scene this afternoon completely oblivious to his surroundings!

About halfway through this scene as I will call it I realized I probably should get out of there and mumbled to myself that I should never leave home without my camera. Ahghgrr! That would have been a really cool photo.

I never heard what the guy did. I searched all of the news web sites and didn’t find a trace of the story anywhere. Who knows? Maybe he was a terrorist.

Please follow this protocol when you are sick, thank you

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If you are sick or recovering from being sick with the common cold or the flu or any of those types of virus’ that spread around, I have some simple guidelines you should be following.

  1. You might feel better but you look awful and you’re contagious like a bacteria culture. Translation: Don’t come to church. It won’t impress me.
  2. If you do come to church, don’t shake my hand. Thank you.
  3. Don’t sit next to me or for that matter anywhere in the vicinity.
  4. Please leave right away so that I don’t get whatever it is that you have.
  5. If you don’t, I will.

It’s not that I want to snub you, it’s just that you’ve just gotten me sick and likely ruined my whole next week. I’ve been through this scenario far to many times to count and have learned to wash my hands with anti-bacterial soap immediately after (and sometimes while at) church.

Thank you.

I just got back from a weekend playing Tron. I mean, sailing.

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I only saw the movie Tron (1982) for the first time a few years ago. I’m sure it’s famous for only one reason: it was the first movie to use computer generated graphics. I certainly don’t remember it for the great script.

This weekend while sailing at the lake I was reminded of the Tron movie when I watched how the boats crossed paths like they do in the Tron race scene. Everything happens at sharp angles in sailing as you have to work your way at a beat, a reach, or a run to wherever you want to go. In this case, it was a race, so we all had the same goal — to get to the finish line!

All of the boats pretty much go in the same direction except when one boat wants to cut across and get to another part of the lake. Often to find better wind or to see if their path is faster.

In sailing you can’t sail directly into the wind, and just like in Tron you have to make multiple criss crossing paths until you reach your next waypoint. When two boats intersect it can be an interesting situation and you can have some close calls. Unlike Tron, there are rules that govern these situations and nobody dies. Whoever is on “starboard” has the right of way in sailing (and that’s always one boat, never two).

So there you go. A scientific analysis of the similarities between Tron and sailing!

The best meals of 2005

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It occurred to me this evening as I was eating dinner out with my parents that a fun question to ask would be “what was your favorite breakfast, lunch, and dinner last year?”

I was specifically thinking of food you ate at restaurants, but if you cooked your favorite meal at home then more power to you.

Best Dinner – Not surprisingly, most of mine were times we ate out in Vancouver (my only vacation last year). I voted for my best dinner at The Sandbar Restaurant as the best of the year. We had a really great view of the bay and the food was just terrific. I had this seafood bouillabaisse with all kinds of tasty ingredients in a sort of soup with curry. The menu describes it like this: Sandbar Hot Pot seasonal fish, thai curry, coconut milk. Mmmmmm, it was really good.

Best Lunch – Then for best lunch I voted for this one lunch we had about an hour north of Seattle (I can’t remember where exactly). We were waiting to get on the ferry and we had an hour to burn and we were hungry. We were sitting by the window overlooking Puget Sound and we could see cars waiting to load on the ferry. Since we had just flown out from Phoenix we were enjoying the great weather (think 30 degree difference).

My lunch consisted of this shrimp and artichoke sandwich and a tasty bowl of chowder. It doesn’t sound too interesting and maybe it wasn’t but the fact that I was starving, the great view overlooking the bay, and the food was really good made it my favorite lunch of the year.

Best Breakfast – This is easy because I’m a horrible breakfast eater. As a result I’ve eaten less breakfasts, so less to weed out. We ate at this one place in Anacortes, Washington called Calico Cupboard Old Town Cafe. Perhaps the food was good because we had been sailing for a few days prior and we were hungry. But it was really quite good. We later learned that the cafe is actually a chain but you would never guess. I’d call it a cross between a Mimi’s Cafe and The Breakfast Club in Scottsdale — but with much less sophistication. All good stuff.

There were a number of memorable meals at home and especially on holidays. I think the reason meals out are sometimes more interesting is because the ingredients are different from what you would typically have in your own home (who has curry or coconut milk?).

Hmmm, now I need to think about the best cup of coffee. That will be a difficult one.

Predictions for 2006 – I’m betting that I’ll enjoy some great food in Brazil this May. I’ve already enjoyed a few good meals out this year including one good dinner at a Brazilian steakhouse called Rio Sabor Brazil in Scottsdale where we had 11 different kinds of meat and some fish and shrimp all in one sitting.